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Education Sciences Board Faces Awkward Transition

The National Board for Education Sciences, the advisory group which supervises the Education Department's Institute of Education Sciences, has announced the agenda for its next meeting, Sept. 29. Now it has to hope members will be confirmed in time to show up.

At the September meeting, IES Director John Q. Easton plans to discuss revised research priorities for the institute, which the board must vote to approve. The board also plans to discuss the What Works Clearinghouse and a recently released evaluation of charter schools.

The board consists by law of 15 voting members, but had been working with only six until the Senate confirmed four new members in June. Yet the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has yet to vote on President Obama's four remaining NBES nominees: Anthony Bryk, president of the Stanford-based Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for a term ending in November 2015; and for terms ending November 2012: Robert A. Underwood, former U.S. House delegate for Guam and president of the University of Guam; Kris D. Gutierrez, education professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder; and Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly L. Hall. Moreover, the committee also hasn't approved Sean P. "Jack" Buckley, of New York, tapped to be the new Commissioner of Education Statistics.

The nominees must get through committee and a full Senate vote during the Senate's 10 business days before the meeting.

Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek's tenure as board chairman is due to expire at the end of November, so he said he may try to squeeze in an additional meeting of the board in early November to smooth the transition for new members.

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